Decorating weddings and special events over the years, I've often helped clients with other aspects of their events besides the decorating. I want to share that information and advice with you. I also want to highlight other event vendors whose work I like and different local venues. I invite you to ask questions as well.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

South Street Bridge Opening!

The South Street Bridge is finally re-opening today! There's a party at the 23rd Street (at South Street) triangle, right outside our door! Come visit us and save 10% off any gift item in the shop.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

HAPPY HALLOWEEN


There are many potentially scary things that can happen with weddings. There are the stories of downpours and bee infestations. There are tent mishaps, dress mishaps, decidedly inappropriate toast mishaps. And of course we've all heard about the horror of Bridezillas. Some of us have even crossed paths with them and have lived to tell.

Then there are simply the brides with frightful taste, like one bride I met who wanted a “diamond shaped” bouquet in pink, red, yellow, blue and who knows what else. This was the same bride who was much more concerned about her brother's boutonni√®re than the groom's..?!

Another spooky occurrence I encountered was when a bride purchased her own votive candles for her wedding – that were scented! When I opened the first case of them I thought my hair had blown off, for the smell was so overwhelming. Always use unscented candles for events. Let the fragrances of the flowers and aromas of the food be enjoyed and not overpowered by a fabricated smell.

Potentially horrifying things can happen with weddings at other times of the year too. One very hot day - hence not the best condition for placing anything precariously on a butter cream iced cake - we were to add a few flower accents around a figurine the bride had bought to top her cake. The figurine was of a Bride and Groom in a seated position to be placed on the edge of the top tier with their legs hanging over the side. It was heavy, not intended for cake decoration and with nothing to stick into the cake to secure it. Needless to say, as soon as the caterer placed the figurine on the cake it tumbled down the entire side creating quite a gash.

Surprisingly, the caterer then tried to place it on the other side and, of course, now there were two sides of the cake completely wrecked! Apparently already having a bad day, he stomped off to attend to other issues in the kitchen. We waited for him to return to fix the icing before we placed the accent flowers, but he didn't. With just moments left before the guests were to enter the room, we quickly decorated the cake liberally with flowers. I must say, it did turn out boo-tiful! Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

ABCs

It seems everyone has ABCs for everything. So, I thought I'd throw my hat into the ring as well. My initials stand for: A for Aesthetic, B for Beauty and C for Creativity.

A for Aesthetic. The aesthetic of your event should begin with your save the date cards and continue right down to the last of the favors. There should be a sense of continuity in all aspects of your decorating, which makes it feel like one celebration - not five! This means from the get go deciding issues like; Will your event have a more modern feel or a more romantic feel? Is there a theme? What is the color palette? These questions often can be decided by what best compliments the site, or sites, you have chosen. Then again, sometimes it's fun to juxtapose different styles. And doing that can work quite well - if carried out throughout your event!

B for Beauty. Of course everything should be beautiful! Which is why only the freshest flowers should be used, linens should be spotless and your venues should be well-maintained. All these things go back to trusting in your vendors and knowing they will do their jobs competently. Another thing to consider is to not put too many elements in the mix. With so many possible options available sometimes it's difficult to narrow things down. While one idea is beautiful in one application it might not be in another. And as they say, too much is TOO MUCH! Go ahead and have opulent arrangements and sumptuous linens. But keep the additional elements and tchachkas to a low roar, as they can take away from the overall visual impact. This is where your florist can help you to edit so that everything works together attractively.

C is for Creativity. I always strive to be creative, even with the smallest of elements for an event. There's always some twist you can do to add interest. Perhaps a few jewels nestled in a pretty bouquet to add an extra little sparkle. Or maybe the addition of a flower on each place setting or a ribbon tied around each napkin - in your signature color, of course. Again your theme, be it an actual theme or just a color or a sensibility, will spur on ideas. One bride had a monogram of her and the groom's initials as their theme. Their monogram was tastefully used throughout their event - on their invitations, cake, special lighting on the dance floor and so on. In keeping with their theme we created a banner with the initial of their last name in flowers to hang in the entrance stairwell. Flanking that were wire letter forms with flowers attached of their first initials - letter perfect!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Down Town Club Event

Come to an open house at The Down Town Club (6th and Chestnut Streets in Philadelphia) this evening from 6pm - 8pm and see a couple of my flower creations! There will be Hors D'Oeuvres, Drinks and Live Music too. See you there!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A PERSONAL TOUCH

Oftentimes brides (and grooms!) want more than just a pretty event. They want their weddings to reflect more of themselves and their lives together. Sometimes they would just like to have more of a hand in bringing about their special day, while also perhaps saving a little money. Of course it's always nice to put a personal stamp on your event. But don't feel that you have to do overly complicated and numerous projects to do so. In other words...

Do have personal touches in your wedding
Don't be personally tortured in creating them

I had a bride who became overly ambitious in this regard. At a certain point she was intending on hand making the programs, place cards, table numbers and menu cards for her wedding. Taking on several projects like these can become quite an undertaking for one person, particularly when in the midst of planning their wedding.

Needless to say, when things didn't go as smoothly as expected she began to feel overwhelmed. We talked it through and found less stressful tacks for her to take. She was sensible in knowing her limits. She didn't get tied up with a couple smaller aspects of her wedding and loose site of the overall. Because you should enjoy the special time leading up to your big day. Yes, there's perhaps some work. And like everything, there are often hurtles to overcome. But the journey of planning your wedding should be a happy time, not drudgery.

Then there was another bride I worked with who could've given Martha a run for her money. She created many flawless items for her wedding like the runner, which she sewed (using three different fabrics) and embroidered with her and the groom's initials! - a nice girl, but a little creepy. Not many people have her talent, nor the time for such involved projects. I say, if you really want to do lots of projects then by all means! But be realistic in your goals. Truly know what you are capable of and if you can complete everything in the manner you want, in the time table that's necessary.

Personalizing your event can also be achieved without getting out your arts and crafts bin. It could be as simple as decorating with a collection of family photographs. Maybe it's having your best four legged friend included in the ceremony – with flowered collar, of course! Or maybe it could be the inclusion of something of your culture. One bride, who had a South American heritage, brought back colorful trinket-sized dolls to put on each guest's place card. Another couple from Mexico had a Mariachi band perform after their ceremony. Perhaps it's acknowledging a hobby or interest that you share as a couple. One couple, who are both skiers, gave away chocolate skis for their favors.

Incorporating aspects of your lives, whether you make it yourself or not, can be done in a variety of interesting ways. Just try not to get too carried away. I'd say erring on the side of subtlety isn't a bad approach. Because while each addition might be lovely on its own, together it can become an incongruous mess. Remember it's your wedding, not a Bat Mitzvah!

Monday, May 17, 2010

THE BEST FLOWERS EVER


We are all so busy with our hectic day to day lives - and even more so when planning a wedding. But we need to make a conscious effort to stop and pay attention to the little nuances in life. All those vignettes throughout our lives are really what matter the most. Cherish those moments, as all the rest is largely a just a backdrop for them.

No one ever gives me flowers. I believe because I design with them that people are intimidated about giving them to me. But I would be delighted to receive them! Recently my five year old son asked if he could cut some flowers in the back yard and I said sure. He came in shortly after and presented me with a tiny fistful of flowers. I gave him a hug and thanked him, put them in a cup of water and continued with the dinner preparations.

Later in the evening as I turned on the light by my bedside, I discovered a glass of water with a single flower floating in it! At some point he had procured a glass from the kitchen cabinet (no small feat for someone so small) and snuck upstairs unnoticed (good parenting) to leave me a lovely surprise “arrangement” – the best flowers ever.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sweet Pea TV

On the WE channel tomorrow morning at 9:30am EST a segment (about wedding flowers, of course!) I had taped a while ago will be aired. Check it out!

Monday, April 19, 2010

PEONY ENVY

It's Springtime! I love the scent of Wisteria in the air, the bright little heads of Tulips, Daffodils and Pansies popping up, the chirping of birds – the clamor of nervous brides. (Yes, one of the two main wedding seasons of the year is here.) But what I really look forward to at this time of year are the Peonies. They are my most favorite flower - next to Sweet Peas, of course!

Peonies come in an array of Pinks, Coral, Yellow and White. They are showy, yet refined; feminine yet bold. They (like other strong flower presences, Orchids or Dahlias for example) can stand on their own or integrate nicely with other flowers.

They aren't an inexpensive flower. But since they have a larger flower head you can get away with including a few and still make a statement in an arrangement. If your budget is more robust, then by all means put as many luscious peonies together as you can!

I remember one wedding we decorated that was to be of all deep pink peonies. What a joy! I even liked seeing all of them in the flower buckets before they were arranged. It was just a lovely swath of multi-petaled color. Nothing could have been more basic and more purely beautiful.

Other than that Peonies aren't available year round, drawbacks in using them are few. Because of their size, applications Peonies aren't appropriate for are smaller pieces like boutonnières and corsages. Even using unopened buds is not so helpful in these cases. But, this dilemma can be easily solved.

If other flowers are being used in the event, then perhaps another “face” flower - a Rose or Mini Calla Lily - could be a nice alternative. I like to add additional elements like tiny flower buds, sprigs of greens or berries to add interest to these smaller pieces also. Sometimes I will use a cluster of flowers, like spray roses or florets from such as a Delphinium or Lisianthus. Another option, particularly if only Peonies are being used in the event, is an attractive combination of greens - perhaps with pods, grasses or berries incorporated. I then like to tie off the piece with a very thin ribbon that is color coordinated to the event.

Unfortunately Peonies aren't available year round. But when they are I believe it is hard to go wrong in using them in whatever capacity. And Peonies symbolize good health, prosperity and a promising marriage – so a perfect wedding flower!


Monday, April 5, 2010

NOBLE


Recently we discovered a stylish site perfect for smaller events, Noble: An American Cookery www.noblecookery.com. It is located at 2025 Sansom Street in Philadelphia, which is just a stone's throw from Rittenhouse Square – read convenient to good photo sites, assorted houses of worship and hotels.

After experiencing a delicious and well served dinner we were lucky enough to meet the owners, Bruno Pouget and Todd Rodgers. Bruno graciously gave us a tour and told us more about the beautifully designed space. He explained the efforts they went to in using naturally fallen 400-year-old African Rosewood for the first floor bar. He also pointed out the reclaimed Oak timbers used to make the grand staircase, an attractive juxtaposition of rustic wood with modern metal railing.

As we gazed through the three large skylights above the second floor seating area, he told us that situated in between are rooftop herb and vegetable gardens, cultivated for use in their kitchen. Just another well thought out and charming aspect of a restaurant that truly lives up to its name.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

HOLIDAZE

The day that is the bane of every florist in the land is upon us – Valentine's Day! Why do florists shudder in fear at the mere mention of V-day you ask? The multitudes of orders to get out ALL AT THE SAME TIME, the stratospheric flower prices and the challenge of even getting the flowers they want - when every other designer in town wants the same flowers. It's enough to make any florist want to hunt down Cupid with a different type of bow and arrow.

Luckily, we only decorate events and don't have hundreds of bouquets of red Roses and Baby's Breath to produce. But we still know when faced with a holiday wedding or event, that it's potentially more problematic than a regular event - from the higher flower prices down to just the logistics of getting around with more people out and about. So when you're picking the date of your wedding I suggest...

Do make your special day YOUR special day
Don't make a holiday your special day

Sometimes it's tempting to plan your wedding over a holiday, or more importantly a holiday weekend – more days off for your honeymoon! You might even think you're doing your guests a favor by picking a long weekend like Memorial Day weekend. They will have an extra travel day, you think. Yes, they will have an extra travel day. But so will everyone else in the country! And your guest list may suffer by people who have already made plans for that holiday weekend or have annual traditions that they're not able or willing to give up.

Prices for flowers aren't the only things that go up around the holidays. Air fare, hotels and car rentals all go up at specific times of the year too, putting more of a financial strain on you and your guests. And flower prices are not just inflated at Valentine's Day. Prices soar at other key times of the year like around Christmas and New Year's Eve and Mother's Day. Sometimes the cost of staff goes up as well, like on New Year's Eve. All things to consider when you are thinking about your budget.

Demand is high for specific flowers around holidays and every florist is competing for the same product. This can mean a tougher time getting some of the specific flowers you may have in mind. Perhaps your florist is able to get what you want, but then the quality might not be as good as it is at other times of the year when less in demand.

So perhaps make your wedding day a celebration all its own. Leave the holidays to celebrate as you always have in the past. And yes, I did decorate a wedding this holiday weekend. We decorated for a lovely couple who ( instead of red or pink) chose classic, beautiful white and cream flowers – which I fought tooth and nail to get!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Flower Arranging Class



Taught my first flower arranging class - to 6th grade girls! Amidst the gossip, singing and joking around they did manage to produce some beautiful work.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

LITTLE THINGS

Recently a bride offered to provide meals for my team at her event. Not only did this show her generosity - as any extra expenses when planning a wedding can really add up. But it also showed what great manners she has – remembering even the smallest courtesy in the midst of such a hectic time. I thanked her, but declined her offer. The ones to remember to have meals for are usually the Photographer and Band.

But this exchange made me realize that, in all the years I've been decorating events, I don't recall ever being asked this before. Yes, a couple times I've been offered tips (also declined) and received a few thoughtful gifts. One client gave us a quite a generous gift certificate for the very nice hotel where her event was held. Don't panic. That is not usual, nor is it expected. Truly, I am quite pleased when someone takes the time to write me a lovely note. Which brings me to...

Don't forget the little things.
Don't obsess about every little thing.

To help you remember all those little details, keep some sort of binder, list, database, so you can keep organized. Be vigilant in maintaining whatever system you choose. So when you wake up at 4:30am worrying if you sent that final payment, just check your notes and then confidently return to your beauty rest. For me, sometimes decorating an event can seem like orchestrating a military maneuver. Thusly, I have become an obsessive list maker – bride's favorite flowers, event day time-line, venue and other vendor call list, etc. Lists help me keep track of the myriad of details I need to know and keeps our team moving forward accordingly. And really, ticking items off a list always gives me great pleasure!

So now you've gotten your binder, set up your website and feel fairly organized. But planning a wedding is still sometimes overwhelming. Maybe you feel you can't manage everything. One tack some take is to hire a coordinator. They can help just on your big day or all throughout your planning. Planners may help some, but I feel in most situations they are an unnecessary expense. Hire capable vendors that communicate with you and coordinate with each other and that's really all you need.

If you still feel you're handling too much be willing to delegate some responsibilities to someone reliable. And again I stress RELIABLE. Follow your instincts, or your gut, as they say. You love your Maid of Honor. But if she is chronically late, can't successfully seal envelopes without cutting her lip and notoriously has trouble finding her own car, maybe someone else would be more helpful.

The same goes for vendors. If the florist, caterer or photographer shows up to your first meeting 45 minutes late and has forgotten their book of samples, don't hire them. Find someone who is professional, compatible...RELIABLE. So that on your special day you will be able to relax, enjoy yourself and feel confident that the services they provide will be provided - and in the way you want. Then you are free to worry about all the other little details - like getting those pretty note cards to write your favorite florist!